For those of you who don’t know (which, let’s face it, is almost everyone reading this), I went to culinary school. When I started, I could barely cook anything besides Kraft mac n’ cheese in the microwave. But I could bake one hell of an apple crisp. And cookies. And cupcakes.
Baking was, and still is, my passion. Truth be told, no one needs a degree in culinary to get a job in the kitchen. But I also wanted to make my parents proud. So instead of getting myself a certificate, I decided to go get myself one of those fancy degrees.
Before I go any further, I want everyone to know that I fully support anyone who is, was, or is thinking about going to college. Working hard in school is something to proud of and a task that should be admired.
However, I have some problems with college. We don’t see eye to eye, if I’m honest. And since I am honest, I’ll tell you that I didn’t get to finish college. 8 weeks before graduation, I was forced to drop out. But now, 5 years later, I feel that I’ve learned more from not being in college than I had while I was earning my credits.
Sounds weird, right? Sure, I learned a lot while I was in school. You’d be surprised how much there is to learn about sauces, and breads, and corn. Side note: I spent 8 weeks learning about corn. Yep, CORN. An entire 8 week course was dedicated solely to corn. It was basically cruel and unusual punishment.
Aaaaanyway. I have not gone back to college since then. And having to admit that I did not in fact earn a degree has taught me something very, very important.
It has taught me that a degree does not define you. While it is definitely something to be proud of and work hard for, it does not make you who you are. No one should feel bad that they did not decide to go to college, or in my case – finish college. It is no one’s place to make anyone feel judged or feel inferior because they have a degree, and the person next to them doesn’t.
A few years ago, my mother went back to school to earn her Bachelors Degree in Event Planning. She worked her butt off. Seriously, I could not have been more proud of her. She excels at being a mother and a wife. So when she went back to school, it was no surprise she was an incredible student. To this day, I admire her for her hard work and dedication.
What I also admired about my mom, was that she didn’t think she was suddenly better than anyone else because she earned a degree.
Whenever anyone asked if I’d finished school, I had to tell them no. And it pained me to my core, because I felt like I was being judged. I felt like the person now thought less of me. It made me feel like I had to dedicate the rest of my time proving to that person that I’m their equal.
A degree does not necessarily make you smart. Not having a degree does not make you incapable. Sure, you may have to work a little harder in the corporate world because your resume does not list which degree you earned in whatever major in whatever college. But don’t let the lack of ink on that piece of paper make you think less of yourself.
Again, I’m not knocking college or earning degrees. It is an incredible accomplishment. Just please don’t let it define who you are. You are so much more than that piece of paper.